Slip and fall injuries are seldom minor. Even the simplest fall can lead to sprains, broken bones, or joint injuries that can last a lifetime. Year after year, falling is one of the top causes of accidental injury and even wrongful death in Athens, GA.
The effects of slips and falls are long-lasting, especially regarding steep hospital bills, expensive medication, months or years of physical therapy, and time off of work. Don’t face financial peril because of someone else’s negligence. The slip and fall injury attorneys serving Athens at John Foy & Associates can protect your rights to recover compensation.
What Counts As a Slip and Fall Case in Athens?
Many people blame themselves for their fall. They might think they were clumsy or believe that they weren’t paying attention to where they stepped. But this is almost never the sole cause of a fall. In almost every case, there is a reason you slipped and fell. There was some kind of hazard or unsafe condition that contributed to the accident.
For example, imagine you’re walking to the bathroom of a restaurant and there’s a small step up. The step is hard to see, and you trip over it, hurting yourself. You are not at fault for your injury.
Legally, the fault lies with the restaurant, because they knew there was a hazard there and did not clearly mark it. They put their customers at risk. Other common slip and fall cases include:
- Wet, slippery, or freshly mopped floors that aren’t marked
- Poorly maintained sidewalks or walkways
- Poorly lit staircases
- Staircase with no railing
- Slipping on a spilled product in a store
These accidents are all what lawyers call “premises liability” cases. Premises liability just means that the owner or management of a place has an obligation to make that place safe. If there’s a hazard, they are supposed to either fix it or clearly warn people.
Understanding Negligence in Slip and Fall Cases
If a property owner fails to uphold their duty of care, it counts as negligence. That negligence means that they are directly responsible for any injuries the hazard causes. Negligence is the cornerstone of any personal injury case.
When our slip and fall injury lawyers serving Athens approach an insurer or the court for a claim, we have to prove that someone’s negligence was responsible for your injuries. We have to show there was a problem before we can ask for compensation.
The evidence we gather from you and our investigators goes toward proving negligence. Good evidence might include:
- A photo showing no warning signs of the hazard that injured you
- Witness testimony showing the hazard that hurt you wasn’t fixed after the fact
- Medical records showing your injury wasn’t present before your accident
What Should I Do After a Slip and Fall Accident in Athens?
Our advice to anyone who is injured is to be your own best advocate. That means take basic steps to look out for yourself and your case. Often, simply collecting whatever evidence you can and documenting the accident as early as possible makes your case much stronger later on.
Among the steps you can take after your accident, you should:
Don’t hide your injury or pretend you’re okay if you’re not. We all want to put on a brave face after an injury, but the right thing to do is to report it. Speak to the owner or a manager and report the accident. You don’t have to be confrontational—let them know that you were injured and what caused you to fall.
One of the best things you can do is get photos of the place where you fell. All too often, if someone trips over an unmarked step and then comes back a week later, the step is now marked with bright yellow paint. Photos show how it was the day you were hurt. Get multiple shots, showing any hazards up close as well as a zoomed-out view of what the area looked like.
Speak to Witnesses
Did others see you fall? If so, ask what they saw. Show them the hazard if there was one. Ask witnesses if you can take their names and contact information. People are often happy to help a person who has been injured.
Watch What You Say
Many of us have an instinct to say, “Don’t worry, I’m fine,” as soon as we’re hurt. Be careful – these words can be used against you! Similarly, don’t say you’re sorry or that you were being clumsy. You were just walking. There’s a reason you tripped.
Get Medical Help
Even if the injury seems minor, it really is worth it to see a doctor. Many breaks and sprains seem minor at first but get far worse later. A head injury needs immediate treatment. Also, going immediately to a doctor shows that you know something was wrong at the time of the accident. Your slip and fall injury attorney serving Athens can also document these medical records as evidence.
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What If I Fell at a Friend or Loved One’s Home?
You can get a full financial recovery no matter where the injury happened. You may be afraid to file a claim because you don’t want to upset a loved one, but remember: your claim is not against your loved one.
You do not have to sue them or ask them for any money. In fact, they won’t be involved at all. Only their insurance company will be. This is the purpose of insurance. You can get the money due to you by law for a mistake without ruining your friend or loved one’s life.
Could I Share the Blame for My Slip and Fall Accident?
There are things you could have done that shift some of the blame of your injury to you, but you’ll need the advice of a slip and fall injury attorney serving Athens to know for sure. If this is the case, Georgia’s comparative fault rule applies. We’ll give two examples.
The first is if you ignored obvious warning signs about the hazard. If a store had a wet floor sign out near a mopped area and you walked through it anyway, they could say you were negligent by ignoring the sign.
The second is if you were someplace you shouldn’t be, like through trespassing. A trespasser has far fewer legal rights in a premises liability case because property owners don’t have a duty of care towards uninvited guests.
Is There a Deadline to File a Slip and Fall Claim in Athens?
Yes. Every slip and fall injury follows tight legal deadlines known as statutes of limitations. The Athens courts follow deadlines set by both state and federal law. In extreme cases you may have up to two years to file your claim – but in many cases, it’s much shorter.
Some slip and fall claims must even be filed within weeks of the injury. The sooner you speak to a lawyer, the better.
Talk to a Slip and Fall Lawyer Serving Athens, Georgia for Free
John Foy & Associates is one of the most experienced personal injury firms with skilled slip and fall injury lawyers serving Athens. For 20 years, we have helped accident victims assert their legal rights, win financial recoveries, and move on successfully with their lives.
We have grown from a small local law firm to one of the largest and most respected accident law firms in the country. And we have a track record of forcing insurance companies to pay the money accident victims deserve—so much so that we have been nicknamed the “Strong Arm” law firm of Georgia.
Let the Strong Arm help you. We offer a completely free consultation. This consultation is your chance to discuss your fall with a lawyer and get a professional opinion with no obligation. Don’t wait. Call us and get your free consultation today.